|Photo by NHL|
Then, in 2008, the Pittsburgh Penguins took the ice against the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium--the home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills. The game, which was won by the Penguins in a shootout, set TV ratings records. Ever since 2008, there has been an outdoor NHL hockey game called the Winter Classic on New Years' Day with TV ratings reaching 8.2 million viewers this year in the United States alone. And so, the NHL has expanded the Winter Classic into an annual "Stadium Series."
|Photo by NHL|
|Photo by NHL|
Alex Scheer, captain of the University of Toledo, arranged a rivalry game between his team and BGSU that was played at Toledo's football stadium, the Glass Bowl, this fall. "At UT, we are a Club Sport, so we have access to the indoor practice facility, as well as access to the stadium once the football team is done using it, and as long as another club isn't using it," Scheer said. "We have full access to the entire facility minus bathrooms and concessions, all free of charge."
In addition to a student body turnout of 50-100 people, the Glass Bowl game between Toledo and BGSU was televised by BCSN, a local sports station, and has had positive implications for Toledo in their city. "The city of Toledo knows we exist," Scheer said. "We just surpassed 500 likes on facebook, and now have a local sponsor who will be helping us with travel to World Cup."
Scheer also attempted to book Kuntz Memorial Stadium, a soccer stadium in downtown Indianapolis, for the upcoming Big Ten-MAC Quidditch Challenge. "Kuntz Stadium was willing to give me whatever I wanted...for a huge pricetag," Scheer said. "Being a professional soccer stadium, they have a great facility, with some great things to work with."
The price Kuntz Memorial Stadium wanted was $8,000 for two days of field and press box access, and the tournament will instead be played in South Bend, IN for free.
Although an $8,000 fee is too expensive for a regular team to organize, is isn't actually a terrible deal for a world-class soccer facility and 5,000 seat stadium. Given how successful a single weeknight game at the Glass Bowl featuring undermanned teams was, imagine the publicity a major tournament would get. How much is a lot of publicity for the sport of quidditch worth? Is it worth $8,000?
To find out more I talked to IQA Marketing Director Logan Anbinder.
"I think there’s definitely a really great marketing value in hosting quidditch at a venue like a college football stadium or minor league park," Anbinder said. "As someone who was in attendance for the finals of World Cup V, which were played in Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, I can definitely attest that the venue provides a unique atmosphere that’s really exciting and that I think does do a lot to push the sport towards mainstream legitimacy."
The cost and logistics of holding quididitch events at small stadiums definitely remain major challenges. "As far as the practical aspects of holding an event at a venue like this, I know in general that the cost of renting these types of locations is very significant," Anbinder said. "However, I could definitely see the draw of a stadium or ballpark being a component of a city bid sometime down the road. So while I wouldn’t necessarily count on it happening anytime soon, it’s neat to think about a regional championship or even the World Cup held in a stadium in the future!"